NERC project first year anniversary

Yesterday marked the end of the official first year of the NERC project. The past year has gone by so quickly, and it was reassuring to actually sit down with the research officer who looks after the accounts, and see that actually everything is in place and we're not too far off on the budget, despite a few hiccups and changes to the project timetable. I've learned a great deal about being a PI and the whole process of running a large collaborative project. Mainly that the job of a PI is very much research management rather than actually doing the research. It has been difficult to get used to delegating tasks to team members and resisting the urge to try and do everything myself. I miss being in the lab - but I hope to get back to doing at least a little bit at the end of January next year when I have a semester of research leave. Hopefully this will also mean I have time to do more regular blog updates, with more fun micromorphology images from all the slides that I will be analyzing. It is good timing that to mark the end of the first year, we also have our first paper accepted on some of the initial results from the Paisley Caves pilot studies. We decided to submit this to Paleoamerica journal, which publishes short reports on 'in progress' projects and results from pilot studies etc. Hopefully his way we will reach an audience beyond the usual archaeological science community and get the word out there about the new work we are doing and the methods we are developing.
The Bristol component of the project is now well under way too - Dr Helen Whelton is now in post as the PDRA in archaeological chemistry, and is working on some of the first sample batches for lipid analysis and compound specific radiocarbon dating. I am looking forward to the SAA conference next year, where we a running a session on Coprolite Research: Archaeological and Palaeoecological Potential. The NERC team members will be giving presentations on the initial results of the project, as well as a range of other coprolite researchers talking about the latest research, including a keynote from Prof. Vaughn Bryant - a pioneer of coprolite research. Exciting stuff!